Lawmakers considering higher DMV fees

Lawmakers are considering a list of nearly two-dozen increases in fees charged by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The increases could raise millions more in revenue for the state.

Sen. Bob Coffin, D-Las Vegas, said simply doubling the price of driver licenses as opposed to renewals would generate $3.54 million over the next two years. He said doing the same thing for vehicle registrations the first time a car or light truck is registered would generate $37.5 million for the biennium.

Doubling the new registration fees for heavy trucks as well would push the total to $40 million.

For the most part, Coffin said, those increases would generate money "without sticking the existing residents" since most of those registering for the first time and getting a driver license are people moving to Nevada from elsewhere.

In addition, fiscal staff advised the joint committee a simple one-dollar increase in all fees would add nearly $3 million a year to the DMV's coffers.

Coffin and other members of the joint Senate-Assembly committee studying the DMV budget said the idea behind the increases is to lower DMV's demand on the state's highway fund. DMV has traditionally used 22 percent of the fund. Gov. Kenny Guinn's proposed budget would bump that up to 29 percent. Southern Nevada lawmakers say the proposal takes money away from the Public Safety and Transportation departments, which also rely heavily on the highway fund.

"We need that money for road building everywhere," Coffin said.

A Nevada driver license now costs just $19.50 -- renewals the same amount -- for four years. Coffin wants that boosted to $39 for first time licensees.

The base-state fee for registering a car or pick-up truck is now $33 a year. Coffin proposed charging $66.

The committee co-chaired by Sen. Dean Rhoads, R-Tuscarora, and Assemblyman David Parks, D-Las Vegas, is also looking into potential increases in a number of other fees charged by DMV including commercial driver licenses, registration reinstatements, title fees, duplicate license or registration charges and others. The list even proposes charging for such things as the instruction manual for drivers, now handed out free.

DMV Director Ginny Lewis said once lawmakers settle on specific recommendations, she will present the proposal to Guinn and his staff and they will decide whether to support the changes.

The committee took no action on the proposals.


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